Thursday, December 20, 2007

Teacher’s Pet – part 2

Story contd.

The day of the show - our final day – was a mad flurry of dress rehearsals, lighting plotting and last minute costume adjustments. Everyone had worked hard and although the dress rehearsal didn’t go without a hitch - that probably boded well for the actual performance Charles, my black American friend gave a natural dignity to his part of Lord Windermere and fortunately the director saw the folly of giving him white gloves to wear, which was too close to Al Johnson for comfort,

Being in the lighting box with Gary was a piece of cake as he was very hands on and did most of it himself, but I had studied the lighting plots and felt I knew a little more about the subject now, other than the useful snippet that Strand pink was the most flattering light for ladies. It was fascinating how one could lift or darken the mood with light and music. All in all the week had taught me a lot about stage craft and I couldn’t wait to get back to the theatre club and do my own production. I knew from the people I had worked with on ‘The Summer of the Seventeenth Doll’ that I could get together that all important back- stage team - so vital before you even think of the actors.

There was one part of the play where Gary wanted a black-out and it was dependant on the timing of what was happening on stage; he said he would keep an eye on the action with his arm raised and at the right moment would drop his arm and I would pull the lever that would plunge the stage into darkness. Meanwhile we had a couple of hours before the show and I planned to crash and try to catch up with all the late nights I had been having. However Gary said he wanted to speak to me alone, and as we were all leaving tomorrow this was the last chance we would get, so I agreed to meet him in the pub as soon as I had changed.

The pub was empty when I got there, apart from Gary sitting by the window looking concerned – very unusual for him. We had soft drinks because of the show and I asked Gary what he wanted to talk to me about. The evening sun shining through the window gave him a golden glow and although he wasn’t conventionally handsome I found his titian hair and freckles and above all his happy nature immensely appealing. I was aware of the woman behind the bar who seemed very interested in our conversation. I realised there had been a mutual attraction between us but was also conscious that Gary was a very popular guy and had young women coming up to him constantly asking for his help, advice or opinion on all sorts of things. I had had a fantastic week with a great bunch of people from all over the world and Gary had made me feel a desirable young woman, for the first time in years. But this was time out from my real life; I would keep in touch with some of the students but I knew the friendship with Gary had to end here.

Gary said he had had a chequered career and although married had been a bit of a philanderer, but this was the first time he had felt really serious. Neither of us was free but he knew I wasn’t happy and that probably nothing could come of it for years. Even though we lived far apart he wanted to keep in touch. I was in turmoil. It sounded so reasonable but I had never imagined anything continuing after the end of the course and I tried to explain why I couldn’t keep in touch with him.

We were going round in circles and it was time to get back to the college. In the lighting box I tried to concentrate on the play which seemed to be going well. It went so much better with an audience and you could see the actors rising to the occasion as each bit of laughter and applause gave them fresh impetus. My mind was still whirling and Gary’s words were ringing in my ears.

‘We must see each other again Pat.’

I vaguely saw him lift his arm in the air and when he dropped it I froze. Whether it was a combination of exhaustion and stress I don’t know but I was paralysed. Gary hurtled towards me, grabbed the lever and saved the day.

After the show it was party time and everybody was on a high. I apologised to Gary for letting him down but he said it was his fault for bringing up such a difficult topic at the wrong time. Knowing that most of us would never meet again we partied for the last time, till the early hours.

The next morning with the car packed with all those books that had never been opened, Gary looked on as I hugged and said goodbye to my new friends. Just as I was about to drive off he came over, hugged me and said.

‘See you next week!’

I felt sad in the car. It reminded me of school at the end of the year when I always used to cry at ‘Lord dismiss us with thy blessings.’ I told myself Gary probably just wanted another scalp to add to his collection and I had been right to be firm.

When I reached home William and the boys were out so I collapsed into bed and slept for hours.


gautami tripathy said...

Some decisions seems so hard. I suppose you did right.

A BIG hug to you. Good to be here from Michele!

PI said...

Gautami: thank you. Everything seemed so black and white in those days. Looking back one sees how attitudes have changed.

AndrewM said...


AndrewM said...

Nice one.

Carry on.

Carmi said...

Endings are so hard, Pat, and you've written this so deftly that it's difficult to not empathize. Thank you for posting another hard-to-put-down chapter.

Visiting from Michele's on this quiet Thursday. Hope you're having a lovely week so far.

gemma said...

Michele sent me and I have to come back.....fascinating story.

Eryl Shields said...

Did you see him the next week? Did you, did you?

R. Sherman said...

Well dear, you did the right thing. I won't ask you to spoil the next chapter.

Cheers and Merry Christmas.

kenju said...

You made the right decision for the time, Pat. I comend you for that - so many don't!

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

It certainly is lovely to feel 'wanted' and to know an attractrive man is interested...It sure gives one's ego a bit of a boost....
I for one cannot wait to hear the next chapter....'See you next week'? Hmmmmm.

And, my dear Pat, have a FABULOUS Time away....I hope your Holidays are filled with lots of Good Cheer, Much Good Food, and loads of Fun!

PI said...

Carmi: it's not over til the fat lady sings:) Thanks Carmi this week has been busy but good.

Hi Gemma!

Now Eryl! You know I can't.

Randall: hope the next chapter doesn't spoil it for you.

Judy: I have to admit that then, part of me believed I would be struck dead if I went off the straight and narrow. Wouldn't want you to think I was holier than thou. I wasn't.

PI said...

Naomi: thank you for everything.

Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

Gary "was very hands on", was he?

Couldnee resist. I don't mean to make light of it, I know the turmoil it must have caused you. That sort of thing can really throw you for six.

The thing with that week though, is that it sounds like it was suffused with an air of unreality - almost like a suspension of life for a bit. In that intense, creative environment it would be easy to get carried away.

I'm sorry things weren't good with William. That makes it all much more difficult, of course. Head and heart just refuse to agree sometimes - very disconcerting.

PI said...

Sam: yes that just about sums it up.
W and I were ill matched. I craved romance - we couldn't give each other what we needed and all the love and affection went to the children. The children gave us both happiness so something worked.

Zinnia Cyclamen said...

Once a philanderer, always a philanderer, I reckon. It's leopards-and-spots territory. Sounds like the whole week was something of an ego-boost for you, not just the Gary part.

PI said...

Zinnia: I think y0ou're right about the spots but I wasn't proud of missing the lighting cue. That was pathetic.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Michewle sent me back to say "HELLO" once again and to wish you the very best Holiday, ever!
I hope to post a Christmas Post over the weekend....!
Meanwhile, I hope you have a Very Very Merry Christmas, dear Pat!
(I look forward to the bext installment of this very fascinating saga....!

In case it isn't clear, it's Naomi here!

Maz@styletreaty said...

Hi Pat, just wanted to wish you a happy christmas!!! have a good one!!

PI said...

Naomi: hope you get a good rest over the holiday and all the paper shredding is over.

Hi Maz! Thank you so much and the same to you.

moon said...

It's the turning points in our lives that make things very difficult, very clear and we either take the next journey or remain on the same road...each proceeding curve determines how long it takes to get get on the right track ...hopefully we get where we should be...and learn along the way...I look forward to reading more of your journey.

Guyana-Gyal said...

Uh-huh, yep, just what Zinnia says. Once a womaniser, always will be. They know how to zoom in on the right gals, don't they? I feel your anxiety and uncertainty, Pat.

Now this is where we here would say, 'the story hotting up.'

PI said...

GG: it's strange how one relives it but than once it's written it recedes again. Luckily!